The GoPro Karma is GoPro’s first drone, and as of a few weeks ago, it’s last. GoPro is officially out of the drone market. The Karma wasn’t selling well enough, and they lost a lot of money off of the drone. Plus, with competitors like the DJI Phantom 4, it’s extremely hard to live up to the competition. That being said, the Karma is still a good drone for GoPro enthusiasts. I’ll say it right from the start: If you don’t already have a GoPro, this is not the right drone for you. Try looking at the Phantom 4 or Mavic Air; you’ll spend your money better there. However, if you’ve got a GoPro, and want to take it up in the air, keep reading.
The Karma (without a GoPro camera) comes in at $600. That includes: the drone, a carrying case, the controller, a battery, and the “Karma grip,” a holder for your GoPro that shoots stabilized video. Now, if you want to get a GoPro with it, it’s $900 for Karma w/ Hero5, and $1000 for Karma with Hero6. Since, at that price point, you’re competing with the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro, I think it’s not worth it to buy Karma with the camera. You’d be better off buying a DJI drone. But if you have a Hero camera, 600 bucks is a good price to get it in the air. Keep in mind that the Yuneec Typhoon 4k has just as good of a camera, and is also in the 500-600 dollar price range; you might want to take a look at that as well.
Don’t expect much out of the flight on the Karma. Since its camera is a GoPro, it doesn’t have any smart features like Follow Me or Watch Me. It does have return to home, which is essential. It gets about 18 minutes of flight time, and can go up to 35 mph. It’s max distance is 3 kilometers, which is plenty for most people. But like I said, it lacks the smart features of a DJI drone. Think of it as a flying GoPro. It hasn’t got anything special about it: just a camera in the air.
The GoPro Hero5 and Hero6 can both shoot 4k video: the hero5 at 30 fps, and the 6 at 60 fps. So the Hero6 might be comparable to the Phantom 4 Advanced camera, while the Hero5 is more similar to the Mavic. The Camera is set on a 3 axis gimbal at the front of the drone. Since it is at the front, there is no way to turn the camera independently from the drone. In order to pan from left to right, you’ll have to physically move the drone. This is obviously to make the drone more portable, but it would be nice to have that.
I mentioned above that the drone comes with a “Karma grip.” This is a little handheld device which you can attach to the gimbal, so you can hold it and make stabilized videos. The idea is very similar to the SteadyGrip, which is included with the Typhoon series.
The controller is one of the few things I like about the Karma. It’s got an ergonomic design not unlike a portable game console, because the screen flips up and the controls are hidden underneath. The controls are easy for anyone to master, due to the easy take-off, land, and return to home controls. Honestly, this might be my favorite controller of any drone on this website.
The Karma’s arms fold in, so the drone ends up being about the size of a laptop in length and width. With the carrying case that it comes with, you can fit the drone easily in. So it’s not a pain to transport the Karma.
Like I’ve said a few times now, this isn’t an amazing drone. If you don’t have a GoPro, go buy a Mavic Air. But if you’ve got one, it might be worth considering.